A Tribute to Andy Kotowicz via Radio Birdman
This video is dedicated to my friend Andy Kotowicz. Radio Birdman had ties to Ann Arbor where Andy grew up and he was instrumental in the release of “The Essential Radio Birdman” on Sub Pop back in 2001. Andy was the victim of a tragic auto accident on Thursday night. He worked in the music industry for years and touched many lives all over the country. Over the years he worked at School Kids Records (Ann Arbor), Spongebath Records (Murfreesboro, TN), Koch and Razor & Tie (New York), and finally as the head of sales and marketing for Sub Pop (Seattle). Andy also wrote the liner notes for the Flamin Groovies 1999 CD reissue of Teenage Head.
I first met Andy back in the mid 90’s when he bought ads in No Depression. That was back in the days when business was done on the telephone rather than via email so before and/or after the business was done we’d chat on the phone about what bands we were loving, what shows we’d seen and life in general. When he flew out to Seattle to interview for the job at Sub Pop he stayed with me and my family for a few days and quickly became part of the family. Andy had told me that working for Sub Pop was his dream job and he was quickly absorbed into the Seattle music community and was beloved by all who knew him. Andy was one of those people who oozed wisdom, warmth and kindness. He had a twinkle in his eye, a great sense of humor and every time we talked he had a fantastic new band to turn me on to. He loved music as much or more than anyone I’ve met in (or out) of the music industry over the years. This is a reminder how quickly life can change and how important it is to tell the people around you how much they mean to you as often as you can. You never know when it will be the last time.
Andy is survived by his beautiful wife and angel of a daughter. My heart goes out to them and all the folks at Sub Pop.
You will be missed my friend.
From 2001 (SubPop.com)…Sub Pop is proud to release The Essential Radio Birdman (1974-1978). This is a particularly momentous release for Sub Pop, as it marks the first release of Radio Birdman material in the U.S. in over twenty years. Their first album, Radios Appear was released stateside by Sire in 1978, but much of the material on The Essential Radio Birdman will be seeing a U.S. release for the first time ever. Over the past twenty-five years, the band has become highly influential upon underground high-energy punk bands, yet until now, their recordings have remained obscure and generally unattainable in America.
Radio Birdman was founded in Australia by Ann Arbor, Michigan native, guitarist Deniz Tek, Rob Younger (vocals), Pip Hoyle (keyboards), and Ron Keeley (drums). Completing the lineup heard on this set are Chris Masuak (guitar) and Warwick Gilbert (bass).
The Radio Birdman sound and attitude was rooted in the high energy Motor City sound of bands like The Stooges and MC5 that permeated Tek’s world as a teenager growing up in southeast Michigan. The band also incorporated other powerful influences, including an element of surf music, leading to the development of a sound that was truly all their own.
The band spent most of their time touring Australia, and did do some UK dates with The Flamin’ Groovies in 1978, but parted ways with Sire before making it to the States. The final record, Living Eyes was also recorded in 1978 but lingered in Sire’s vaults until 1981, three years after the band had broken up. Even then, the record only received an Australian release.
The Essential Radio Birdman (1974-1978) is a 22-track single-disc collection made up of tracks taken from their Burn My Eye EP, the classic Radios Appear album, the More Fun EP (a live recording from 1977) and the Living Eyes album. The collection will also feature new liner notes written by David Fricke.
The members of Radio Birdman are all still active musically. After the band split up, Rob Younger, Deniz Tek and Warwick Gilbert went on to form New Race with their sonic forebears, Ron Asheton of The Stooges and Dennis Thompson of the MC5. Younger then went on to form the New Christs, who are active to this day. Deniz Tek has many projects including his own Deniz Tek Group, Deep Reduction (also with Rob Younger) and Dodge Main, his collaboration with Wayne Kramer, of MC5 fame. Radio Birdman reformed for Australian tours in 1996 and 1997, but as of now, they have no plans to do so again.